My Watercolor Paintings Practices

(using VanGogh and, Windsor and Newton watercolors)

The main reason I like watercolor is that there are so many things you can try! It is so easy to mix all the colors you want, to use different brush tips to try some effects and you don’t even need to make it perfect! I am going to give my tips and tricks using my watercolor paintings practices.

You just need to know the basic rules and technics. It is easy to learn and you can just get better with consistent practice!

Despite the fact that I love the VanGogh and Windsor and Newton watercolors, these are not very cheap sets. Let me tell you that you don’t need expensive supplies for learning a skill.

My first watercolor set was really simple and cheap, and it helped me experiment with the colors.

I needed to learn the basics to get better anyway, so the supplies should not hold you back from learning and improving.

Of course, new supplies always level-up your art and let’s be honest, it makes really happy but you can use whatever you have to start making creative things.

Watercolor Techniques

There are 2 main techniques : the wet-on-wet (for painting blurry subjects or making soft blends) and the wet-on-dry (painting while your paper is dry).

For example, for this night painting, I needed gradual color blends for the sky. So I first put water on all the paper, then added colors (black, white and blue) allowing them to naturally blend together.

After leaving it to dry, I painted the little mountains and tree using a thin brush (wet-on-dry technic).

Using Water

– Use the water according to the effect you want to give. If the paper is wet, the colors will move and can blend easily.  So you can use water to set boundaries to your paper or to make beautiful gradient. If the paper is dry, the colors will stay wherever you put your brush.

– Watercolors is translucent, which means you can see through them. The more water you use, the more translucent they will be. In the contrary, if you do not use a lot of water, your paints will be more opaque.

– You need to be careful about how much you have water on your brush as much as on your paper. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make thin lines or paint precise details. The more you have water on your paper or on your brush, the less control you have over you paint. If there is too much water on your paper, your paint will not even bloom and it will stay on the top of the water.

-Most high quality watercolors will have a richer pigment to them, so you can really use a lot of water in mixing them. It’s also helpful to know that watercolors typically dry a lot lighter than they first appear while wet.

– Also, know that watercolors become activated again once dry, if you paint over them with water.

Drawing Illustration Sketch image mountain nature

Except knowing these techniques, here are some other things I can recommend:

– As I already said it, the choice of paper is important! Use paper specifically meant for watercolors, because it is a lot more absorbent. This paper is usually 300g or higher. I am a big fan of Canson papers.

– Feel free to try different kind of brushes, even things that are not brushes, like sponge or textured papers/tissues

– I use a paper towel to take back the water from my paper and brushes. They are almost like eraser of watercolors. I use it a lot for cleaning my brush before using another color and also for correcting mistakes or redirecting the paint on the paper.

– You don’t need to hold your brush really tight, actually it is better to have a loose grip in order to have the best control over the brush. When I was first painting with watercolor, I was trying to control all the paint on my paper, but I quickly realized that, what makes watercolor unique is its imperfection. Actually, nature and people, and the whole universe are imperfect. The more you lean into imperfection, the better you’ll understand everything around you.

– Everything is about layers! I paint from back to front, which is usually from lighter to darker colors. Watercolor is a thin medium, so practice with layers. It just give more depth and that is what makes your painting looks fantastic! And of course, when layering, you should start with the lightest colors first. This way, you can keep building upon those layer until you get the results you want.

Highlights and shadows complete your paintings!

– It’s ok that your painting doesn’t look really good sometimes. Some days, it just doesn’t work and it’s alright. Do not lose your motivation about it!

– And of course, one of the things I always forget to do is to think about how much I improved since I started! Make a list of your goals and also make a list of what you have accomplished!

Painting with watercolor is a wonderful thing! I use it for my architectural and botanical illustrations, realistic landscape or mandalas, and it always gives a magical look. It is an amazing hobby that calm your mind and make you more relax. Once you learn the basics rules, it get so much easier to paint anything you want! Remember that the best way yo learn is to try yourself! So here are my tips using my watercolor paintings practices for now! There are still so many things I am learning, but here are my main advices for now! I might make some other posts about different brushes, watercolor, papers..

Tell me if this was helpful, or if there is anything you would like me to explain or try!

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